Note: Opinions expressed in commentary on KCAW are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.

By Auriella Hughes

Auriella Hughes

On January 15th, Martin Luther King’s birthday, I happened to be on a zoom meditation retreat at my home. I missed everything about the troops coming in to protect the capitol.  I missed all the talk about whether or not Trump would be impeached before he left office, and I missed all the speculation on what havoc the Proud Boys were planning for inauguration  day. But I was not at all sad to miss these things. 

The thing I was sad to miss, was a true dedication to someone who made a huge impact in my life: The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King has always been a deep inspiration to me, because he exemplifies a true, aware, and evolved human being.  He showed humanity what it looks like to surrender your own personal life to something much bigger and greater – a surrender to moving forward the moral evolution and conscience of a whole nation.

He shared with humanity not just his valuable and limited time, but also his incredible passion and vision of the Beloved Community. 

Have you heard of this term? The Beloved Community was his way of talking about what it would be like to have Heaven here on Earth. What would it be like if we actually respected, included, and honored each other, as the precious beings that we are?  If we could treat each other with true kindness, regardless of race, creed, religion or socioeconomic class, we would  actually have Heaven on Earth, right here, and right now. 

Even living here in our small, tight-knit community of Sitka, there are people who are prejudiced, who are angry, who are intolerant, who may have been raised to see people as “the other,” or dangerous, or  bad, or ignorant, or any number of other derogatory characteristics, rather than seeing them as a fellow member of the Beloved Community. 

Let’s take the opportunity this year to look at how our parents and the prevailing culture shaped our thinking in ways we were not aware of at the time.  Let’s examine our prejudices, our racial bias, and our previous conditioning. Let’s ask, do I consciously or unconsciously believe that some humans are inherently better than others? or worse than others? or more righteous? or more sinful? or more deserving of happiness? or more deserving of the hardship that befalls them?  

Let’s make a commitment to listen deeply to those who have been persecuted, to those who have struggled, and to those who are patiently waiting for the unconscious, privileged ones to wake up to the subtle and not-so-subtle caste system we live with.

Why not take Martin Luther King’s words to heart, and think of all of Sitka as the Beloved Community? And let’s think of everyone here as “all my relations.”

And while we’re at it, why stop there? We can include our whole state, our whole nation, and even our whole world, as being part of the Beloved Community.